Documentation of SEeAFAR

Foá + Hosea, Carali McCall, Anne Robinson, Sarah Sparkes, Thurle Wright

Folkstone Triennial Fringe 29-31st August 2014
Deptford X 27th September – 5th October 2014

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Curated by Birgitta Hosea

He will not have been (a) present but he will have made a gift by not disappearing without leaving a trace.
(Jacques Derrida in Re-Reading Levinas,1991)

Seeafar features new work by six artists whose practice traces the presence of absence through drawing, painting, installation, performance and moving image. Recalling the perspective of generations of women living in a state of unknowing as they wait for news or the return of loved ones from overseas, the works explore the tensions between anticipation and memory, separation and speculation. The visionary act of making becomes an empowering process that enables each one of us to think things into the world, to reveal the hidden and make manifest the unsaid.

The Old Truckers Lounge, Folkestone Harbour

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Foá + Hosea 
Traion III (Folkestone), Mixed Media (Graphite/pen on paper, projected animation), Dimensions variable (2014)

In the Traion series, Foá + Hosea respond to the myth of the first drawing, in which Butades’s daughter traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on the wall to hold on to his memory before he left on a journey. Foá + Hosea engage with this dilemma – the impossibility of attempting to hold time – through fixing their digital shadows in place with animation. In the title of the series, the words ‘trace’ and ‘motion’ are merged to reference their process of drawing over film, in which evidence of presence and motion is traced.

Artists’ bio: Maryclare Foá draws to examine the relationship and affects between place and practitioner. Her PhD revealed how sound can be drawing that interacts with the environment. She teaches for Central Saint Martins and writes for Studio International. Birgitta Hosea is a media artist working with expanded animation, installation and performance. Her work and PhD explore performativity, presence, affect and digital materiality. She is Course Director of MA Character Animation at CSM. Both artists have exhibited internationally and awards include Foá – RCA Drawing prize and twice shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and Hosea – MAMA Holographic Arts Award and an Adobe Impact Award. Foá and Hosea work individually and also collaborate. Recent collaborative works have been exhibited in Paris – Dans ma cellule, une silhouette, Centre d’Art Contemporain, La Ferme du Buisson; London – Draw to Perform, ]Performance Space[; DRAFT, Parasol Unit; Bletchley Park – Ghost Station and Orkney – Papay Gyro Nights.

www.maryclarefoa.com
www.birgittahosea.co.uk

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Carali McCall
Work no. 4 (Restraint / Running) Folkestone, Performance to camera (2014)

In an area of performance drawing, which considers drawing to be connected to movement through the act of doing and physical activity, this performance addresses what it means to use the extreme form of physical activity – running. Using (myself) the runner to articulate an understanding of how the body moves through space, I use the ‘breath’ and the discipline of marathon training to explore how the physical act of running can be a viable form of drawing.

Artist’s bio: Carali McCall is an artist working and living in London from Canada. She completed her MFA at Slade School of Art, UCL in 2006 and has recently submitted her practice-based PhD thesis at Central Saint Martins, UAL. Although training for marathons and ultramarathons have always occurred alongside her art practice, it was not until she adopted Euclid’s definition of the line ‘a line is a breadthless length’ and began to explore the role of the body in drawing that McCall has become aware of potential connections between running and drawing. Since studying the influences and the trajectory of performance art practices, her recent work has been used to explore linear properties beyond conventional mark making processes. Recent exhibitions and presentations of work include, Performing Site, Falmouth University 2014, Draw to Perform, Performance Space, London, 2013 and Again and Again and Again: Serial Formats and Repetitive Actions, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, 2012.

www.caralimccall.org

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Anne Robinson
Skinny White Sailor, 4-6 x paintings, 30.5cm x 40.5cm, oil on canvas (2014)
Thrashing In the Static, Single screen video, 10 minute loop (2014)

How far is too far? How can we look over the edge, feel our way beyond the horizon, traverse time zones and cross the bounds of one human life? The two new works presented here, paintings in the series Skinny White Sailor and the song-film Thrashing In the Static, involve a haunting – keeping watch in the night for revenant sailors. In Robinson’s song-films the voice becomes spirit presence. In Thrashing In the Static, the wavelengths of a search for a brother lost at sea soar over the edge across time zones – a ‘traveling eye’ crossing from the Thames foreshore in 21st century London, way back to an island in the South China Sea in 1942, a dream terrain, long away and far ago. The work draws on surrealism, phenomenology and radical philosophies of time to work with uncanny presence, the sorcery of long exposures, high speed filming and painterly surface distorting out time sense.

Artist’s bio: Anne Robinson’s practice encompasses painting, moving image installations and performance and is concerned with the perception and politics of time passing in art.  She has shown work nationally and internationally, recently working with the Commonist Gallery and CGTV on film and singing interventions. She completed a residency in 2013 in Marseilles at De Centre der Space. She has published in: The Journal of Visual Arts Practice and The Journal of Media Practice as well as curating One More Time (2011), Over Time (2014) and being one of the art curators for the Supernormal festival. She has recently completed a PhD on temporality and painting and also works with the moving image in collaboration with other artists and as an educator, currently senior lecturer in Film at London Metropolitan University.

annerobinsonartwork.org

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Sarah Sparkes 
The Haunted Sea and Jane Conquest Rings the Bell, Mixed media (2014)

Sarah Sparkes’ great grandfather was a Magic Lanternist. Using his decaying lantern slides and combining these with a magician’s optical effects, the artist has created a series of works illuminating the ambiguous relationship between the woman watching on the shore and the spectre of the shipwreck at sea. In Jane Conquest rings the Bell a standard maritime narrative is re-imagined, in which a visionary woman looks out from behind the helm of destiny.

Artist’s bio: Sarah Sparkes’ work, as both an artist and curator, is primarily concerned with concepts of immateriality and how this might be visualised. She runs the visual arts and cross-disciplinary research project GHost, which explores how ghosts are manifested in visual art and contemporary culture. Her chapter on Ghost has been published in The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures, 2014. Recent exhibitions include Theatrical Dynamics at Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles; The Infinity Show at NN Contemporary, Northampton and Haunted Landscapes, University of Falmouth, Cornwall. She is currently developing work for the Over Time project in Greenwich, London and is one of the selected artists for Art in Romney Marsh Churches, 2014.

www.sarahsparkes.com

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Thurle Wright
Crossing, Collage (Found map of Dover Strait and two poems by Matthew Arnold; ‘Dover Beach’ and ‘Calais Sands’), 90x100cm, (2012)
Deep Reading (Extract from children’s adventure novel and old school atlas, glue, on paper), 60 x 20″, (2010)

An oily old sea map and pages from a poetry book: the poems in this work are addressed to a woman at the end of her honeymoon travels. The poet, Arnold, speaks to his new wife as he gazes out to sea at night contemplating the future in a mood of great uncertainty and melancholy. In deconstructing the lines of the poems and stitching them in small paper stages across the map, the physical progress of the sea crossing is referenced, flowing alongside the slow unravelling process of reflecting and writing itself. There is a patient stitching of thoughts, not knowing how it will end. The words themselves become waves and currents, caught in that space between leaving and arriving, at the mercy of the tides.

Artist’s Bio: Thurle’s delicate paper reconstructions stem from an interest in the systems and structures of language, the ordering of knowledge, the collecting, storing and accessing of words. Working in the gap between the concrete and abstract impression of text on paper, Thurle cuts, folds, weaves and stitches lines of words into a new visual format, in which traces of the original mingle with personal, often playful or poetic interpretations. Thurle has shown work widely both in the UK and internationally including the Bookarts Triennial in Lithuania, Deptford X, and Brussels Art on Paper. Her work is in various public and private collections including Brisbane Sate Library. Numerous residencies include work for the V&A Museum of Childhood, Perth Central School of Art and Design, Fremantle Arts Centre, Camberwell Arts Festival and various colleges.

www.thurle.com

Crossing

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P1040464Bonus artwork by Sandra Louison at Folkestone

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Num3er, Creekside, Deptford

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Acknowledgements: thanks to all of the artists for their help in putting together this exhibition as well as Anne Pietsch, Sandra Louison and the teams behind the Folkestone Fringe, Num3er and Deptford X

 

 

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SEeAFAR: 27th Sept – 5th Oct 2014

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Fresh from the Folkestone Triennial Fringe, this touring exhibition curated by Birgitta Hosea brings together new work from Foa + Hosea, Carali McCall, Anne Robinson, Sarah Sparkes and Thurle Wright. Using a range of media – drawing, animation, performance to video, light installation, painting and collage, the works engage with living with the constant presence of an absence through the metaphor of waiting for someone to return from sea.

OPEN FROM 12-6pm on: 27th, 28th September and 1-5th October

PRIVATE VIEW: Friday 26th September 6-8pm – if you would like to attend – register for the Private View on Facebook or EventBrite

[Invite image Jane Conquest Rings the Bell (detail) Sarah Sparkes, mixed media, 2014]

SEeAFAR: 29-31st August, Folkestone Triennial Fringe

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Taking place in a former waiting room for the Folkestone ferry, SEeAFAR features six artists – Foa + Hosea, Carali McCall, Anne Robinson, Sarah Sparkes, Thurle Wright – whose work manifests absence. Through drawing, painting, installation, performance and moving image, these artworks recall the perspective of generations of women living in a state of unknowing as they wait for news or the return of loved ones from overseas and explore the tensions between anticipation and memory, separation and speculation.

Join Facebook event by clicking here.

Traion I (Ferme)

Dans Ma Cellule, Une Silhouette, 1st February – 20th April 2014, Centre d’Art Contemporain, La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel, Paris

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Maryclare Foá and myself were commissioned to create a new piece of work for this exhibition inspired by the legend of the first drawing told by Pliny the Elder. In this apocryphal tale a Corinthian maiden, whose name is not recorded, traces a line on the wall around the shadow of her lover as he is about to depart. Her father, Butades, a potter, fills the outline with clay and fires it in his kiln.

This action of Butades’s daughter, in which she attempts to freeze time and contain presence, is seen by many art historians as the foundational act of Western painting and drawing.

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This exhibition curated by Lore Gablier for La Ferme du Buisson features the work of different artists who use drawing to investigate the visualisation of absence, loss and desire. Artists included are: William Anastasi / Abdelkader Benchamma / Mathieu Bonardet / Geta Brătescu / Maryclare Foá & Birgitta Hosea (Performance Drawing Collective) / Jean Genet / Dennis Oppenheim / Santiago Reyes / Till Roeskens / Carla Zaccagnini.

Here is the English translation of the text by curator Lore Gablier about the exhibition:

I have the shape of a dead man on the wall of my cell. He’s been in his grave almost five years now, yet his shadow still lingers. He was no one and nothing. All that remains of him is a handful of old rape charges and a man-shaped pencil sketch. Perhaps it’s just superstition, but I can‘t help but feel that erasing it would be like erasing the fact that he ever existed. That may not be such a bad thing, all things considered, but I won’t be the one to do it.

 – Damien Echols, Life After Death

(Damien Echols was sentenced to death by the state of Arkansas in 1994 after being wrongly convicted of murder at the age of 19. He was released from prison in 2011)

Offering an exploration of drawing in its relation to gesture and the body, the exposition Dans ma cellule, une silhouette turns to the story of the daughter of the Corinthian potter Butades who, before her lover left on a long journey, “drew an outline of the shadow of his face as cast by the light of a lamp.”  If this seminal act, as told by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, has come to be considered as an allegory for the origin of drawing and painting, it is, at the same time, an invitation to renew our relation with the visible.

Through her act, the young woman refers us to that which remains invisible in the visible  in this instance her desire, which cannot reconcile itself in the image. What we see is, as such, always inhabited by the absence of what we cannot see, an absence that not only structures our vision, but also allows the advent of a potentiality or, as Jean-Luc Nancy explains,  “the indeterminate possibility of the possible as such, a potentiality of being [pouvoir Ítre] that is not the abstract form of a being that remains to be embodied, but is rather itself a modality and a consistence of being: a being of power [Ítre de pouvoir], the reality of momentum, of birth and beginning.”

Freed from the gaze and returned to a physical act, drawing opens up a multiplicity of forms and potentialities, as the works brought together for this exhibition testify. Drawing becomes alternately the inscription of a gesture, a repeated action or constraint, a narrative support, the means of a tactile exchange, the boundary of a theatrical space. Or else, drawing hallows itself out, empties itself, by erasure, comes to life. In each case what drawing reveals is the body itself: a body that lends itself less to being active, efficient or operative, than it does to a momentum through which it releases its sensuality.

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Birgitta Hosea setting up the work with the help of Anne Pietsch, Lore Gablier and the technical staff at La Ferme du Buisson.

SpaceView2Traion 1 (Ferme) 2014 (Maryclare Foá & Birgitta Hosea)
Material: Mixed Media (Graphite on paper, projected animation, chalk)
Dimensions variable

Artists Statement: 

Just as Butades’s daughter traced the outline of her lover before he left on a journey, so we (Foá & Hosea), following the same method, tracing round the shadows of our bodies cast by the electrical light onto the paper surface, attempt to hold time by fixing our shapes in place.

The multiple lines in this Traion (trace of presence in motion) also attempt to hold motion while leading into the gestured animated outlines of our digital shadows.

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William Kentridge, I Am Not Me, The Horse is Not Mine

Don’t miss the last chance to see William’s Kentridge’s atmospheric and evocative, multi-screen installation, I Am Not Me, The Horse is Not Mine (2008)  in the Tate Modern Tanks. It finishes on Sunday 20th January.

The title of the piece is inspired by a Russian peasant saying that is used to deny guilt. In Kentridge’s talk about the work on 11/11/12, he related how the animations were created as part of the research process he undertook whilst working on a production of Dmitri Schostakovich’s opera, The Nose, from 1928. This satirical opera is based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story from 1837. Inspired by DADA and a long tradition of the absurd, which Kentridge traces back to Cervantes novel Don Quixote, it did not go down well with the Russian authorities who, according to Kentridge, referred to it as ‘a muddle not music’. Here is a clip with more information about the production.

As Kentridge worked in his studio to develop the production, many eclectic ideas came together for him: the history of the absurd in literature; the Soviet purges of intellectuals; the disembodied nose with a life of its own; the artist’s disembodied sense of judgement in inner dialogue with his intuitive approach to making work; the reconstruction of a coherent self from multiple fractured pieces; Modernism and collage; how we make knowledge from fragments; the amount of visual clues needed before we can recognise a fragment of black paper as a horse; the fragmented nature of the world; his own native South Africa and the fractured gap between the promise of enlightenment which underlies colonialism and the violence, brutality and exploitation that underlies it. It is all of these raw materials and more that have been brought together in the collection of animations that play across the screens in the Tanks.

For Kentridge, the artist’s process of bringing together multiple complex ideas is a metaphor for how we make sense of things. Looking at what is in effect his research and development work, we are presented with a state of becoming, an idea taking shape, but not yet fixed.

‘Medium’ mark II

Medium, a living picture in which I take the role of a techno-medium, channel digital doubles and emanate electronic ectoplasm, will be performed again at two different events in December 2012:

  • Saturday 1st December, Exploding Cinema @ Besides the Screen, St James Hatcham, Goldsmiths College, St. James’s, New Cross, SE14 6AD. This event is on from 6.30-11pm. I will be performing live from 7-9pm. Tickets are £5.
  • December 6th 7th & 8th, GHost IV: Presence and Absence – Haunted Landscapes and Manifesting GhostsSt. John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA (next to Bethnal Green tube).
    Times – December 6th 6.00pm – 9.00pm (I will perform live 6-8pm),
    December 7th 6.00pm – 10.00pm (I will perform live 6-8pm),
    December 8th 2.30pm – 7.30pm (I will perform live 6-7pm).
    This event is free.
Each of these GHost events I appear in are curated by Sarah Sparkes and also feature a host of other artists who do interesting things with moving image and installation. Click on the links for more information.
Here is a one minute excerpt from the first version of Medium, created for the Dickensian Hauntings exhibition curated by Illumini at Shoreditch Town Hall, London, September 2012. I’ll be doing a presentation on this work entitled, ‘The Medium is the Messenger’, at the next Colloquium of Performance Research, 17-18th January 2013, Central School of Speech and Drama, London.
Postscript: Curator, Sarah Sparkes, documented the GHost IV exhibition on her blog and also on Flickr.

Medium

“The cinema is the art of ghosts, a battle of phantoms… it’s the art of allowing ghosts to come back.” Jacques Derrida

Inspired by Victorian spirit photographs, this tableau vivant explores the act of mediation that is involved in the digital image making process. Taking the role of a techno-medium, I channel messages from film and radio through my multiple digital doubles and live projections of automatic writing, electronic ectoplasmic drawing and animation in an examination of the connections between a medium, such as film or digital code, through which a message is encoded, stored and transmitted and the psychic medium, a person who transmits messages from the spirit world.

Photos typical of the materialising mediums who inspired this work:


Medium by Birgitta Hosea,
Shown as part of the Dickensian Hauntings Illumini Event,
27th September – 4th October 2012.
Open daily from 11-7pm (free).
Opening Night on Thursday 27th September from 6pm – 10pm
Late Night Openings: Sat 29th Sept & Thurs 4th Oct till 10pm
At Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT

Medium will be performed live at the following times (a video installation will play at all other times.):
Thursday 27th: 6-6.45, 7-7.45, 8-8.45
Saturday 29th: 6-6.45, 8-8.45
Saturday 29th: 7.30-7.45 Artist’s talk in which I will show examples of the original Victorian spirit photographs that inspired the project.
Thursday 4th: 6-6.45, 7-7.45


Preview presentation at Hostings 9:  Presence – ghost-makers 2
Wednesday September  26thth at 6.30pm – 9.00pm
The Hostings are a night of presentations and performances exploring the desire to materialise what is absent by manifesting ghosts.
At this event, I will present the research into Victorian spirit photography and materialising mediums that inspired the work.

The talks are FREE but please email:
ghost.hostings@gmail.com
to reserve your seats.

Venue: The Senate Room, First Floor, South Block, University of London, WC1E 7HU (An apparition known as ‘The Blue Lady’ has been reported to haunt the Senate room)

Hostings 9 Programme

Birgitta Hosea: Medium
Rosie Ward: Artful Hauntings: How Artistic Intuition can Create New memories within Landscape
Guy Edmonds:  Seancé du Cinema – A synthesis of domestic resurrection media

GHost is a visual arts and creative research project which brings together artists, writers, academics, scientists, curators, researchers and others for workshops, so-called Hostings and exhibitions and screenings of moving image art. The Hostings have been taking place in the “haunted” rooms at Senate House, University of London and the exhibition have been hosted annually by St Johns on Bethnal Green and also by The London Art Fair and Folkestone Triennial.

More information: www.host-a-ghost.blogspot.com


Derrida interviewed in Ghost Dance (dir. Ken McMullen, 1983, UK / West Germany, Channel 4 Films):

https://youtu.be/WG_JA6SJD8k